Pacman troubleshooting

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Software Installation

Various issues relating to the download and installation of software packages from the Manjaro repositories are dealt with here.

"Unrecognized archive format" Error

It has ocurred more than once, an update is issuing these messages in a seemingly never ending stream. Pacman could not open file: sync files

error: could not open file /var/lib/pacman/sync/core.db: Unrecognized archive format
error: could not open file /var/lib/pacman/sync/extra.db: Unrecognized archive format
error: could not open file /var/lib/pacman/sync/community.db: Unrecognized archive format
error: could not open file /var/lib/pacman/sync/multilib.db: Unrecognized archive format

The error relates to a mismatch in the information contained in the db files at the mentioned location and the db files at the first mirror in your mirrorlist. Pacman checks a package in the database and sees if the signature file matches the one in the database. If it does not, then pacman will say the package is corrupted.

While it sometimes is possible to fix the issue simply by deleting the files and the running a pacman update it far from every time.

One recipe for fixing this

It is mandatory to ensure that the keyrings is current. By ensuring the keyrings are in shape and then redownloading the databases we reestablish the chain of trust between the keyrings and the packages.

You will have to find the correct names by looking at

Browse for the current manjaro-keyring


Browse for the current archlinux-keyring

Replace yyyymmdd and x with the info found at the above links

sudo pacman -U
sudo pacman -U

Remove your faulty databases

sudo rm -f /var/lib/pacman/sync/*

Refresh the databases

sudo pacman -Sy

And finally run a full system update

sudo pacman -Syu

"Unable to lock database" Error

When downloading and installing software from the repositories, a special database lock file will be created in order to ensure that the current installation process is the only one running at that time. Otherwise, attempting to install multiple files from multiple sources simultaneously may corrupt the downloaded files, cause file conflicts - or worse still - damage your system. Once the installation has been completed, the lock file will then be automatically deleted. This error may therefore occur due to two possible reasons:

  • Another installation is still taking place and has not yet finished, or
  • A previous installation attempt had not finished properly (e.g. due to being aborted early)

It is therefore wise to first check to ensure that another installation is not (or had not been) in process at the time of the error. When satisfied that this is not the case, then the database lock file can be manually deleted. To do so, open up the terminal and enter the following command:

sudo rm /var/lib/pacman/db.lck

Once done, you should now be able to successfully re-attempt your intended installation.

Errors about Keys

We all have our own unique signatures which are used to authenticate who we are and to prevent fraudulent or even malicious activities by others. This is also the case with software packages available from the software repositories. They all contain encrypted codes (signature keys) unique to their developers to ensure that they are authentic and not malicious in nature.

During the installation process, once any software packages have been downloaded, your system will first check their signature keys to ensure that they are authentic prior to actually installing them. If a signature key cannot be verified for any reason, then the installation process will be aborted. This problem will usually occur due to:

  • one or more signature keys contained in your system's database being revoked, changed, corrupted, or out of date
  • one or more software packages not having been signed off properly when placed in a repository

Where a package has not been signed off properly before being placed in a repository, it will be the responsibility of the developer(s) to correct this. However, as this problem will be more than likely due to a problem with your system's verification of a signiture key, this can be solved in three easy steps. Working net connection is required. Once you have opened your terminal:

Warning: The following commands only work, when your system time is set correctly!

1. Remove old (and possibly broken) keys by entering this command:

sudo rm -r /etc/pacman.d/gnupg 

2. Reinstall keyrings including the latest keys:

sudo pacman -Sy gnupg archlinux-keyring manjaro-keyring

3. Initialize the pacman keyring:

sudo pacman-key --init 

4. Load the signature keys:

sudo pacman-key --populate archlinux manjaro 

5. Refresh and update the signature keys:

sudo pacman-key --refresh-keys 

6. Clear out the software packages downloaded during the aborted installation (optional):

sudo pacman -Sc
Warning: The above command clears the pacman cache completely, and one will not be able to downgrade to a previous version of a package if required. Instead packages that are causing signing errors can be removed individually when upgrading.

After that try running sudo pacman -Syu to see if the errors were resolved.

Failed to commit transaction (conflicting files)

If you cant can't install or update a package because of an error like this:

error: could not prepare transaction
error: failed to commit transaction (conflicting files)
libname: /insert/file/name/here exists in filesystem
Errors occurred, no packages were upgraded.

Then the package manager, pacman, has detected an unexpected file that already exists on the disk.

Why is this happening?

By design pacman will not overwrite files that already exist. This is a design feature, not a flaw - package managers are designed to keep track of installed files.

This issue normally happens because you've manually added, copied, or created a file. It can also happen when you install software using a downloaded executable, run a make install, or use a third-party package system such as conda. It also occurs when you install an AUR package which installs files that conflict with a repo package.

When using a third-party installer you should always specify an alternative installation location, such as under your home directory, or under /opt or /usr/local/. Never install directly under / or /usr.

How can I fix this?

The first step is to identify which, if any, package owns the file. This can be easily done with:

pacman -Qo /path/to/file

If this identifies a conflicting package you can decide to remove it with pacman -R. If no package is identified you can delete the file (or move it to a backup location).

Where can I read more?

This post was inspired by (and adapted from):

The above post also has links to further reading.

"Configuration file...not recognized" Error

Manjaro's package manager - pacman - uses a file called mirrorlist to tell it the internet addresses of the Manjaro servers in order to download updates and software applications from them. This error will therefore occur if one or more server addresses contained in the mirrorlist file have not been listed properly, resulting in pacman being unable to connect to them. Another tell-tale sign is that this problem will also be encountered immediately after:

  • Installing Manjaro and editing the mirrorlist file during installation, or
  • Editing the mirrorlist file at a later time.

See the Change to a Different Download Server guide for more detailed information on how to correctly select and enable another Manjaro server for downloading.

"GPGME error: No data" Error

The most likely cause of this issue is that an error or corruption has been detected by pacman in one or more software packages being downloaded. Package signatures and checksums are used to verify the validity of downloaded software, and should they fail, the installation attempt will be aborted to protect your system until the matter is resolved.

Option 1: Basic Resolution

To resolve this issue, first follow the basic procedure provided below. If this does not work, then there is a more comprehensive procedure available.

1. Resynchronise with the Manjaro servers to ensure that everything is up to date by entering the command:

sudo pacman -Syy

2. Clear out the software packages downloaded during the aborted installation by entering the command:

sudo pacman -Sc

3. Re-attempt the aborted download.

Option 2: Comprehensive Resolution

If the basic proceedure still does not resolve the matter, further steps are available:

1. Resynchronise with the Manjaro servers to ensure that everything is up to date by entering the command:

sudo pacman -Syy

2. Refresh and update the signature keys by entering the command:

sudo pacman-key --refresh-keys

3. Reload the signature keys by entering the command:

sudo pacman-key --populate archlinux manjaro

4. Clear out the software packages downloaded during the aborted installation by entering the command:

sudo pacman -Sc

5. Re-attempt the aborted download.

If the error still persists, then it is recommended to Change to a Different Download Server.

"keyserver refresh failed: No dirmngr" Error

Try running the following command:

sudo dirmngr </dev/null

See Also